146: Defining Your Purpose & Living Your Legacy with Chris Smith
Chris Smith is the creator of The Campfire Effect, a proven framework to help entrepreneurs and brands tell their stories. He’s since used his experiences in the world of business to create Family Brand, a powerful way for families to discover how to create an intentional culture in their own homes to foster love, joy, and connection.
However, before he could help others do transformative work, he had to help himself. Ten years ago, Chris struggled with hopelessness as a husband and as a father. He had to take responsibility for his actions, unearth his true calling, and learn to live for now. If you’re wondering how to make change of any kind at any stage of life, Chris’s story and powerful tools can help you achieve these goals.
Today, Chris and I discuss the family brand, transformative breakthroughs, and how to stop being who you’re supposed to be and live as who you truly are.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- Why Chris doesn’t teach anything that he hasn’t failed miserably at – and how our struggles with hopelessness and failure can humble and empower us to change our lives.
- Why so many people live from a place of “should” – and how to unearth your true calling.
- How discovering his own family history and legacy transformed Chris’s life and pulled him up from a personal low point.
- Why it’s so much easier to be intentional in business than in our personal lives.
- The three pillars of the Family Brand – and how to bring adult children into this framework without coming across as overbearing.
- “There is no freedom in the past because you can’t go back there. There’s no freedom in the future because you’re actually never going to be there. The only place where freedom is found is in the present.” – Chris Smith
- “Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.” – Frigga from the movie Avengers: Endgame
Offer valid in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, to first-time requestors. During the offer period, receive one (1) in-stock book per request. Limit (1) book per week per household. Limit three (3) books total each calendar year, between January 1 and December 31. Offer valid while supplies last. Howard Bailey Financial, Inc. reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify this offer at any time. Void where restricted or otherwise prohibited.
Casey Weade: Chris, welcome to the podcast.
Chris Smith: Thanks for having me, man. I’m really excited to be here.
Casey Weade: Well, Chris, I’m excited to have you here. I’ve been missing some quality time with you ever since you spent some time with our house here not all that long ago. So, it’s good to see you face-to-face and we’ve got some really cool projects in the works. You’ve got so many things that you’re working on right now in this new world. And I’m excited to dive a little bit deeper with you.
Chris Smith: Yeah. Well, anytime I can come and talk about one of my favorite subjects which is purpose, it’s a good day for me.
Casey Weade: Well, and I got to ask, how’s the little mini farm going? You’ve turned into Farmer John over there.
Chris Smith: Yeah. I was like if we can’t leave our property then we need to become homesteaders. And so, we don’t have a ton of land. We have a little over an acre and we built a chicken coop and we have 15 chickens. Our garden’s doing amazing. We have four-planter beds and our kids are out every day harvesting zucchini and squash and we’re about to start picking carrots. They’ve been harvested, and the radishes. I’ve always had horses but that’s been a really, really cool thing to have our family be more connected and I think it’s natural for kids to be around things that grow and like dig in the dirt. That’s just natural.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, you’ve encouraged me. When we first met, I told you my wife had been wanting chickens for quite some time. We went with ducks anyways. So, we went ahead and lost in with the ducks and we didn’t go nearly as deep as you did. We ended up with five ducks, not 15 chickens. We’ve got one planter bed, not multiple.
Chris Smith: Hey, that’s the thing like I tell people like it’s easy to do even if you just let your kids like I feature some on the Facebook Live yesterday, even if you’re at a place where you’re not ready to get chickens or you don’t have property or you don’t have land to do a garden like let your kids pick out food at the farmer’s market. It’s like that’s just kids want to be around that kind of stuff and so it’s been fun.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Our son always asked, “What animal is this from?” or, “Where did this come from?” I think those are really important questions to ask. So, anyways, I know we’re going to get off on the Family Brand talk right off the top if we’re not careful. And you know how excited I get about the Family Brand even more so than The Campfire Effect but as we do get started here, we’re going to be talking purpose and meaning. Why should someone listen to you when it comes to this? What is your authority in the realm of purpose and meaning?
Chris Smith: Yeah. It’s a great question. The thing that I would share with people, clients of ours that are coming to work with us are asking that same question, why would we work with you? Why would we come go through your process? And the thing that I share with them is that there’s nothing I teach that I haven’t failed that miserably. And there’s nothing I teach that I haven’t had a lot of success with. So, everything we teach has come from like my own experiences of really struggling in my own life where 10 years ago, I was at the lowest point in my life. I felt like a failure as a husband, as a father, as an entrepreneur, had failing businesses, owed people money. My wife and I were separated. Not separated like working on it separated, like going to get divorced. What’s up, Brad? Brad Johnson saying hi. And what’s up, Homer? And so, I was at this place, Casey, where it was the first time in my life where I’d ever experienced hopelessness.
Like I had some rocky points in my life like everyone, right, some hard times, but I had never gotten to a place where it’s like truly my hopelessness. Like I did not see possibility anymore. And that’s an interesting place if you’ve never been there. And if you have, you know what I’m talking about but it feels like you’re in a brick room with no doors and no windows, like there’s no possibility for anything. And it was really the belief of my wife and showing up as a leader in our relationship at a time where I wasn’t and an amazing marriage counselor and just other people that poured into me that helped me like see that there was possibility still. And really the two thoughts that changed everything for me in that moment were the two quotes I have on these boards behind me which is one is, “Be 100% responsible,” and the other one is, “Pick up the pen.” And it was in that moment with some encouragement and belief, again from my wife and amazing marriage counselor and others where I realized like, “Wait a minute like I’m the author of this story,” which is both incredibly humbling. Because if I’m the author of the story, then that means I’m responsible for everything in my life, like I’ve authored all of it.
But also, if I’m the author of my story, it means I can pick up the pen and I can write a new narrative, and we’ll live into it, but I’m 100% responsible to go create it. It’s not just going to happen. And so, this pick up the pen mantra started like, “Man, do you have the courage to pick up the pen?” Because pick up the pen signifies like commitment and work and responsibility, and not only am I going to write it, I’m going to go live into it. And so, I would say that you fast forward today, 10 years later, I have as amazing of a marriage as I could have ever imagined. Not just like given the circumstances, no. Like truly like she’s my wife, my best friend. We have five beautiful children and we’ve really, in my opinion, created the life that we want. We’ve created the home we want. We’ve created like the lifestyle we want. And from a place 10 years ago where I actually didn’t have any hope, it’s absolutely possible for every person out there to discover your calling and go live into that, whatever that is for you and your business and your family.
Casey Weade: You’ve taken total responsibility. I think for a retiree or really anyone that’s reaching this level of financial independence, they lose a lot of the excuses they had previously. I can’t blame my boss anymore. I can’t blame my co-worker anymore. Now, I have to be 100% responsible and what does that look like? We start thinking through purpose and meaning and how that applies to us in our life. I think at that stage of financial independence, I know what happened for me. It felt a little disillusioned and I think that’s why we focus so much on the purpose discussion is because I find that when you reach financial independence, you struggle with those things more.
Chris Smith: Yeah, absolutely. It’s like there are so many things that my other one behind, you can’t see, it says, “Smiths are creators.” And we have another one, we have this culture wall in our home with all of our family values on it. But one of the plaques, little tiles that say, “You can create or you can complain, but you can’t do both.” And so, really, in those situations, it’s like it’s easy for us to find excuses. It’s easy for us to blame our circumstances or to blame other people but at some point in time especially like someone that’s retired or nearing that place of financial independence, now it’s like, “Wow, okay. There’s nothing else to do but to look at like what is it I want to create?” And another thing I would say too that I’ve heard from a lot of people that nearing retirement age or who are retired is it’s kind of like this feeling of like, “Oh, our best years are behind us.”
Maybe it’s too late to define our purpose. You know, we should have done that in our 20s or 30s, or 40s. It’s like, well, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. It’s never too late to get clear on your purpose. It’s never too late to pick up the pen and decide what it is you actually want to do and still recognize that you’re a creator and you can create any possibility. So, the two things I really want my kids to understand is, one, you can create anything and, two, you’re 100% responsible to do it.
Casey Weade: Yeah. And you helped us really shape a lot of our brand DNA, if you will, our culture as a firm, the things that we discuss with the families we work with, our planning process, and most of the language that we just use in general. You help cultivate those things with working one-on-one with me as well as with our team. And as we get into some of these things, as we talk about purpose and meaning, our mantras, our DNA, I think it might be important for the listener to know how do you choose the people you work with? Who do you work best with? Who do you not work well with?
Chris Smith: Yeah. I love that question because one of the things that we talk a lot about in our work and with our clients is calling. And this idea that I believe that every individual, there’s something that they’re called to do in this life and maybe multiple things they’re called to do. And in the business context, there’s these questions that we have every company answer, which is like what do you feel called to do as a business like most called to do? What do you feel most called to say? And who do you feel most called to work with? Because the opposite of calling is should and supposed to. And there are so many people in life that don’t realize they’ve lived their entire lives from a place of should. And it was ingrained in us at an early age and we don’t even recognize it happened. That was me like I didn’t realize until like my late 20s that I had lived most of my life from a place of what I thought I should do or what I was supposed to do based on other people’s versions of my story. Like other people had written a version of my story that I was living into.
And it was this wake-up call for me to be like, “I don’t even know what I feel called to do. I’ve never given myself space to even think about what I feel called to say or who I feel most called to work with.” And so, like that place of your calling is real freedom but one of the things we talked about is you have to unearth that calling. And so, the definition of unearth is to discover something lost, hidden, or kept secret. And so, sometimes that calling it’s in there, and one time we had it when we were young, and then we lost it or it’s hidden from us because of our own self-doubt and guilt and shame of the past or it’s kept secret because of other people’s opinions of like what we should do? And so, you kind of got to break through all of that. And so, back to that question, it’s like we’ve learned through a little bit of hard lessons and some wisdom like I’m only going to work with people I feel called to work with. And the people I feel called to work with are purpose-driven, mission-focused, heart-centered entrepreneurs.
Look, if you hear me on a podcast and I talked about purpose and meaning and like calling, and that turns you off, good, like you are not a fit for us. I wouldn’t even want to have a conversation with you. I wouldn’t even want to like try to convince you that calling and meaning and purpose is important. If it doesn’t like resonate with you off the very get-go then we just shouldn’t even have a conversation.
Casey Weade: Well, that was one of the things that you shared with me because I want to have these deep conversations with families who work with us and I said some people they’re turned off by it. They just want to have this investment-based discussion or financial planning discussion, that doesn’t go any deeper than really the surface level. And you said, “Well, then you’re going to end up working with the people that want to work with you, that are the best fit.” I think that was really key and very helpful for me that allowed me to go all-in on purpose, that allowed me to go all-in on our whole Retire With Purpose mantra because that’s who we are. And if we turn some people away as a result of that, so be it. They weren’t the right fit for us. So, I think that was really helpful but I think there’s some confusion around these three things. This is when you were helping me kind of dig into my past, my purpose, my meaning, and the firm as a whole, we tried to figure out what is purpose? What is meaning? What is calling? What are these three things? How are they different in your opinion, calling, meaning, purpose? Where do they fall?
Chris Smith: Yeah. It’s a really great question because we’re actually getting asked the same thing. We get asked the same thing at Campfire Effect. Now, we’re going to ask the same thing in Family Brand with families. It’s like, “We came up with a purpose statement. Is that different than our vision statement? Is that different than our mission statement? Is that different than our…?” And the reality is, Casey, like I want to just kind of set everyone free in a sense of like I don’t think it really matters. I think if you have something that is like, “Look, this is what I stand for as a human being or as a business or a family and this is what we want to be known for and this is what we’re committed to,” what do you call that? Your purpose statement or your meaning statement or your vision statement or mission statement. Now, I have some ideas about what’s mission and what’s vision but I think here’s the two things I think are really important, Casey. I think it’s really important for you as an individual, you as a business, and you as a family to get really clear on who are we committed to being today.
Now, a lot of people say that’s your mission, but a lot of other people say no, it’s your purpose, who you’re committed to being today but regardless what we call it, to be able to say like this is who we’re committed to being today. Then having a statement that gives clarity to who are we committed to becoming into the future, a lot of people would call that your vision, but I don’t care what you call it, right? But it’s like who are we committed to being today? Who are we committed to continually becoming? And then like, what do we stand for more than anything? Now, what’s so funny is like I got into this little philosophical debate with people before they’re like, “No, that’s a purpose statement.” “No, that’s a mission statement.” It’s like, well, I think it’s just a powerful statement and if it helps people to be more intentional like that wasn’t important. But I do think that it’s this interesting idea that the one question we posed to all individuals, all entrepreneurs and all families, the very first question we posed to them when we start working and before we get any development of statements and languages, what do you want to be known for?
Of all of the questions that I designed over the years, Casey, for myself and what others to play around with, in practice, I have found that it’s more powerful to get to the core essence of what all of this is about in that question. And it’s not like your casual dinner time like you and I are hanging out as buddies like, “Hey, Casey, by the way, what do you want to be known for, man?” It’s a pretty big confronting question but it’s meant to be confronting. It’s meant to be like, man, what do I want to be known for? And you can ask it in different areas of your life like what do I want to be known for as a father? What do I want to be known for as a husband? What do I want to be known for as an entrepreneur? What I want to be known for as someone in my community? It’s that question of what do I want to be known for kind of start shaping that like into the future? And then the other question we ask right off of the hills of that is, “What do you stand for more than anything?” which is kind of more about today. What do I stand for right now and what do I want to be known for?
So, those are just a couple of questions that starts to till the soil, if you will, to help you start answering some those other questions of like, “Okay. Well, if that’s what I want to be known for, then that would give me pretty good clues to what I feel called to do. And if that’s what I want to be known for then that would be pretty a good clue as to like what I really feel called to say in this world. And if that’s what I want to be known for, that should give me some pretty good insight into like who I feel the most called to work with.” So, it’s almost like we just need to have a lens or almost like a set of glasses or a filter to look through to make some of these decisions. Otherwise, it’s just kind of like, “Well, I don’t know, I think this is what I want to be. This is what I feel called to work with.” But there’s nothing really like a filter to hold this accountable or lens to look through.
Casey Weade: Yeah. I wonder for you, we came up with the Retirement With Purpose framework as a team and that’s our planning process, and we call it the framework because it’s not a plan that we just put together at one point in time. This is something that helps us continue to guide decisions for the rest of our life. It needs to be regularly revisited and updated. And I wonder how purpose shows up in your life in that way. When it comes to the purpose and meaning, how often are you asking yourself these questions that you’re talking about right now? Is this just one thing you identify at one point in time and nailed it down? Or do you continue to watch it evolve? And how do you manage that?
Chris Smith: It’s a great question. Yeah. It’s definitely not a one-time event like this idea. Because whatever that question is of like what do we want to be known for and what do I stand for, man, that might look very differently when I had like five little kids at home versus when I have two kids at home or no kids at home. And so, one of the things that my wife and I, and it was her idea like most good ideas in our family, a few years ago, we would set all these annual goals, tons of them in tons of different areas of our life and by like January 15, we’ve fallen off the wagon in all of them. Like two weeks into the new year we’re like, “Oh man.” We’ve set ourselves up for failure because there’s just so many of them and it was like it felt great in December to think about all these things and my wife is like, “Okay, no more. I’m tired of like doing all these things and not fulfilling them.” She goes, “Why don’t we just pick a word for the year that we want to embody that we feel like would make the biggest difference for our family based on our reflection of the previous year?”
So, we look back at the previous year and look at things that went well and look at the things we want to do better. Why don’t we just pick a word that embody who we want to be that year and just do our best to like embody that one word? And by having one word, I feel like we accomplished more, became more, and we’re committed more than having all these goals. It just really worked for us but it was almost too, Casey, it’s almost like that conversation each year like, “Well, what do we want to be known for this year? What do we want to stand for as a family this year?” Sometimes that conversation would lead us to like shaping and changing our overall like kind of purpose statement, if you will, but it was almost like we had this kind of mini like mission each year. It’s like here’s the big mission for the Smith family like our lifetime mission but then we’re going on these mini-missions every single year as a family. And so, I think whatever it is you do as a family that keeps you in the conversation around intentional creation, and that just really worked for us.
And the other thing we do is we pick a word as a family for the year but then each individual pick a word so each of our kids picks a word and then it’s like there’s my mission. I’m looking at my vision board right now. Mine’s present and playful. I want to be more present this year as a father and I want to be more playful and fond of my kids. So, that’s the word I pick this year. That’s kind of my mission for the year. So, instead of going into a New Year’s Eve’s party which we used to do in the past and we go to these New Year’s Even parties, Casey, whenever we’re on the drive home, we all look at each other as a family and be like, “I think we’d rather just hang out as a family,” like they were fun. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with them. And so, now we do vision board parties and we invite maybe one other family over that’s probably never done something like that and we have like some really, really fun like games and food and then like we have a ton of magazines and like everyone on the family does their vision board. And so, like that keeps us in the conversation.
Another thing that I would say is one of the things we ask families to do was we ask families to say like, “Hey, look at the time in your family’s life, when your family was just working,” meaning things were just running smooth and efficient like maybe it was a year ago, maybe it was 10 years ago like try to identify a period in your family’s life where your family was just humming along really well and then ask yourself, why? What was present in our family at that time that had our family just work so well? Because those are clues. Those are ingredients. And one of the things we identified, Casey, in this is when we had a creation list like literally we called it a creation list and it was around the very first time years ago my wife and I started getting kind of waking up to this idea that like, “Whoa, we’re creators like we can go and create anything we want.” That was a foreign concept to us when we started waking up to it. We had a creation list that we’re going to create this home, we’re going to create this kind of backyard, we’re going create these experiences in the summer. When we had a creation list as a family, and not all of things in the creation list were even within our reach. Some of them were far outside of it but they were still on the list and we were committed to creating it. That kept us in the conversation.
So, those are two things that I think can help keep you in the conversation as a family. This isn’t just a one-time event. It’s not just a one-time fun brainstorming session but it’s like what are we continually committed to creating and who are we continually committed to being each year as a family? Just giving yourself opportunities to evaluate that. Because it’s like same thing with yours. You guys, that’s what’s make you so valuable as advisors when people are so lucky to work at Howard Bailey is like you guys aren’t just selling a product. You’re not just selling a plan. You’re selling like a framework and a possibility that is living and breathing.
Casey Weade: Well, and this is something that I’ve struggled with and I share this with you when we were working together for the first time is we’re asking people to identify their purpose and how that creates meaning in their life and in the front end of the visit. And an hour we expect them to be able to answer that question. Even after four visits, plan’s fully delivered. They’re walking away with their plans. It’s written down. I said, “I don’t feel like we’re done. I feel like we can just do it at one point in time. Can we ever really truly just put one statement down and be done?” I think the value in what we’re creating and, one, is we have this framework. We’re going to these visits. We’re asking good questions and then we’re building this webinar around purpose as well. We’re asking good questions. We’re building a class that we can put people through that come on board to ask clients to help them create the family culture, the legacy that they’re hoping to leave behind to their heirs where they find meaning and purpose again. And I don’t think the value isn’t getting it written down. I think the value is then thinking about it, just having regular conversations, and getting asked really good quality questions.
Chris Smith: Oh yeah, totally. Like the process we take families through and companies through, the process and getting the opportunity to think intentionally about those things is valuable or more than like whatever the outcome is, like whatever the final statements are. So, one of my favorite quotes is by Steve Jobs. He says, “We never connect dots looking forward. We always connect dots looking backwards.” But how often are we given an opportunity to pause and like step back and like actually reflect on our lives and look backwards? We’re always looking forward. We’re always like future-focused, fast-paced like onto the next thing but to be given an opportunity to pause and be like, “What do we want to be known for? Who have we been as a family?” Like how did we get here? What has worked in our past?” And the other thing is it’s so overwhelming for entrepreneurs and Individuals at times and be like, “Those are strategic questions.” And here’s the lie, Casey, that we tell ourselves. I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs when I’ve asked them like, “Hey, what do you want to know more than anything?” and they’re like, “Gosh, I don’t know.”
And then the first thing I do is I call them out on that. I’m like, “Don’t say that because yes, you do. You just don’t know it yet but you do know. In fact, you’re the only one that can. I don’t know what your purpose is.” But as long as we keep telling ourselves this idea of like I don’t know, and I just come to this belief, Casey, that you always know. In any situation in your life, whether there’s a decision around your children, a decision around your investments, a decision around your business, you know because you have intuition like you have gifts like you have the ability to receive like inspiration and downloads and revelations and insights. And then it’s like you always know, and I think that’s a huge thing like a boost of confidence is when I started telling myself like, “No, I know. I know what my purpose is. I know what I feel called to do. I know what’s best for my family.” I may not be present to it yet. There still may be some more work for me to do to dig to find it. It’s in there.
But like that’s one thing I want everyone on this call that’s listening to this podcast is like you do know what your purpose is. You might need some help from a really amazing team like Casey’s to unearth it but you know. And then the second thing is a lot of people are afraid to be wrong though. It’s like, “What if I pick the wrong purpose? Or what if I pick the wrong direction?” And I’ve actually come to this belief, Casey. You’re actually only wrong if you don’t pick. If you pick, you’re right. Because one of two things is going to happen. You’re going to either pick what you think your purpose is and start going down that road and realize, “Oh, I was right,” and then we just continue. Or by picking, you realize not that you were wrong, you realize, “Oh, it’s actually something else but had I not picked, I would have never realized that.” And we as a society, we’ve got more and more and more afraid to just pick and make decisions. So, it’s like you’re only wrong if you don’t pick. It’s like in a marketing campaign. It’s like do we target this group or do we target this group? It’s like I just can tell you if you pick one, you’re right. You’re only wrong when you don’t pick. It’s just like this heaviness we put on this that’s just unnecessary. It’s like you want to know if you pick the right decision for your family, well, pick one and start using it then you’ll know.
Casey Weade: I think of this like I thought about college. When I went to college, I said there’s all these people doing these general studies, right? Some students would do a general study. And I said, “I mean, you need to just pick a major, just pick one and get started. You’ll find out if it’s right or wrong.” So, I picked health sciences, couldn’t pass a biology class for the life of me. Loved it but I just couldn’t pass the exam but I was really good at math and I was really good at finance. So, then I knew, well, I need to go in a different direction. So, you’re right. As a society we’re afraid to just commit and make this decision, this is what I’m going to do. And then if it doesn’t work out, you make adjustments later. And that leads me to the question which is what if we don’t have these conversations? What happens if we don’t identify our purpose, don’t talk about purpose with our family, with our spouse, we don’t identify it before we start doing a retirement planning? What’s that look like? What are the ramifications?
Chris Smith: Totally. We have someone ask a question here. Nicole says, “Chris, do people tell you, you like Ryan Reynolds?” Nicole, they tell me that I look like a very less funny, less better-looking version of Ryan Reynolds. Yes.
Casey Weade: I actually heard multiple people say that about you. So, for those of you that are listening on the podcast right now, if you join our Facebook page, we’re going to be conducting interviews like this and you can post your questions over here to the guests that we have on or you just ask if they look like Ryan Reynolds and everybody tells him that.
Chris Smith: I love these live podcasts, by the way. Brad Johnson I think did one of his first live podcasts and it’s been amazing. So, yeah, what happens if we don’t ask these questions? Or what happens if someone like Howard Bailey doesn’t ask us these questions? So, for those of you who are familiar with the movie Avengers: End Game and if you’re not, it’s an awesome movie, I was sitting in the theater with my family and there’s a scene where Thor, I mean, Thor, right like the dude. You know, we look at Thor and there are these analogies right around like kids who don’t even know who Thor is, it’s almost like a verb, right? And he’s this like divine god from another planet, all strength, all power. And in the movie, Avengers: End Game, Thor totally loses his identity, totally forgets who he is, and totally loses I would say his purpose. And he has a vision, Casey, have you seen the movie?
Casey Weade: Oh yeah. Half a dozen times.
Chris Smith: So, that scene where he goes back to visit his mom, right? And he talks to his mom about this and he’s like really out of shape and he’s lost his identity and his purpose and his meaning. And his mom says to him, the minute his mom says this line, my wife looks at me because she knows that I’m going to geek out on this line because it’s one of the best lines I’ve ever heard from a movie that isn’t real, right? And in an effort to help Thor, she said, “Son, everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be,” and I thought about that and I’m like that’s one of the most profound lines I’ve ever heard in my life like that sums up my entire life. When I was trying to be who I was supposed to be, it’s impossible to be successful at who you’re supposed to be because that’s not who you are. Who you are is not who you’re supposed to be or you should be or you need to be. Anytime we’re in a supposed to be or should be or need be, that’s someone else’s version of us. Who we are, that’s our version. So, she says, “Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be.” She said, “Son, the true measure of a person of a hero is how well they succeed at being who they are.”
And the reason I tell that story, Casey, is I think what happens if we don’t ask ourselves these questions, if someone else doesn’t ask us, we might spend a lifetime being who we’re supposed to be, and who we should be, and who we think we need to be versus who we truly are.
Casey Weade: You know, I think about this from a planning perspective, I mean, a life planning perspective, a financial planning perspective. Many of us start building plans for our future and quite often I find the family we’re working with said the plan they’re trying to build for their future is all about, “Well, I need more money. I need more money. I need more money.” Many of us it’s just ingrained and built in us from a very young age that it’s all about numbers, it’s all about our balance sheet, and it’s not anymore. But if you don’t think deeply about purpose, what’s the purpose of the money, what is the purpose of my life? What do I hope happens at end of life? It’s probably not, “Oh, I want to have $10 million that I get to leave behind.”
Chris Smith: Totally. And the other thing with that, Casey, is like whatever you ask him like, “Hey, as you come to our office today, what’s the purpose of why you want to put a plan together?” and it would be fascinating to actually ask them, “Okay. Is that the answer? Because that’s what you truly feel called to do with the money and that’s what you really want to do and aligns with your purpose or is that what you think you should do or what you’re supposed to do?” It’s like they probably would have to sit there and be like, “Wow, I actually don’t know.” But if you gave them enough space, most people would realize, “I guess, that’s what I think I should do. That’s what I’ve always been taught I’m supposed to do.” And with planning, Casey, you and I talked about this, most people planning is all around like tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, someday, someday, someday. It’s a lot of people that get to their years of retirement and realize like, “Man, I had a lot of opportunities along the way to actually be living my purpose now but I’ve always kind of put off this idea that I’ll live my legacy or I’ll live my purpose when I’m retired and I can or that legacy is this idea of something that I’m leaving behind versus like, well, I could actually be living now?”
And so, I think the risk of not asking those questions is maybe you’ve never really lived or you never really even get access to what it looks like to be who you truly are. Because, man, Casey, I don’t even think most people realize. I certainly didn’t. I had no clue how much of my life was lived from a place of should and supposed to. Like I was asleep to it. It’s just we’re so conditioned in this country and our society, there’s so many shoulds placed on us and so many supposed tos and it’s kind of a funny saying but I now say like you can’t let people should on you and you can’t should on yourself because I think that is the risk. But to me, real freedom, Casey, the other thing is I think the risk of not posing these questions to ourselves like what is our purpose, what is it that we’re called to do, is we’ll end up spending a lot of our lives in the past and the future and not have really the time and the space to live in the one place like actually happening which is the present. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met when I was a financial advisor that had so much regrets about the past, “Oh, I should have done this differently. I should have started planning earlier. I should have this.”
And like they almost couldn’t break free from stories of the pain of the past and regret and/or those same people would also be, “And I’m super worried about the markets and I’m super worried about what might happen and I’m super worried if I will have enough.” And you could tell they didn’t even realize it, Casey, they were spending almost all of their mental capacity and energy in the past and future, which left very little time and creation energy left over to create the one place where life is actually happening which is the present. And then the thing I just, I had to learn this the hard way, there is no freedom in the past because you can’t go back there. There’s no freedom in the future because you’re actually never going to be there. The only place where freedom is found is in the present. And that’s that idea of, man, if we could just ask ourselves these questions, I think it gets us present to living now.
Casey Weade: Well, that’s probably going to be, and most people they want to live now. They don’t want to live in the past. They don’t want to live in the future. And I think having a planning process helps you, one, focus on the today and stop thinking about all the things that went wrong in the past. We’re really focusing on today and start doing the hard work now and then it eliminates a lot of those concerns that are keeping you in the future. You’re thinking about, well, will I have enough? Or what about taxes going up? What about what happens in Washington, the stock market? If we can focus on eliminating a lot of those liabilities and focusing on building a plan around the present, then we can let go of the past, we can let go of the future, and really live present and where we’re at today.
Chris Smith: Totally. I know that I’m not going to get to the end of my life and be like, “You know what, I just wish I would have worried about the past a little bit more. I wish I’d have fretted about the future a little bit more.” It’s like no. It’s like, man, I’m going to realize like, “Man, I had more opportunities to live in the present. We’re going to live right now.”
Casey Weade: You mentioned a moment ago about legacy and living a legacy today. So, that lends itself to a discussion of I just want to understand a little bit more about what legacy means to you because leaving a legacy today is something that I don’t think most of us think about. Most of us think about a legacy is something we’re leaving behind tomorrow. Especially when we’re working with a financial planner, we’re talking about leaving a financial legacy or dollars behind.
Chris Smith: Yeah. So, here’s something that I believe, Casey, that like might be tough medicine for someone to hear if they don’t want to believe this but like my true belief is that like when you look at them, like when you measure your life, and you look at the life you lived and the legacy that that life will create, and you took someone that was very diligent about saving and planning for retirement, really kind of put off living their life now and put off a lot of things they wanted to do for the future hope of retirement and they put like $5 million, $10 million away. And then they did some things in retirement that they wanted to, but still were kind of always worried about spending that money, but like really concerned about leaving that to the next generation. Now, it certainly would make a difference for them. Then you take someone who really lives their life now, does the things they want to do now, goes after their passions or hobbies or interest, their dreams, and still as diligent about planning and saving, but they’re living their life now, okay, and they’d leave far less to the next generation.
Which of those two examples and stories that their grandchildren and great-grandchildren will read about someday will leave a bigger legacy and make a bigger difference? Now, that’s someone’s pure opinion but my opinion is the greatest legacy that I could actually create for my children and my grandchildren is for them to see me live my life now and go after my dreams and what’s most important to me today. So, this idea that we always think about legacy is something that’s left behind and usually, it’s actually such a tactical conversation that really if we really want to be honest with ourselves, most times when people talk about legacy, especially in your industry, Casey, it’s like how much money are we leaving tax-free to our heirs. That’s the extent of the legacy conversations. It’s like, “No, that’s like the smallest piece of the legacy conversation.” Like, legacy is lived, not left. Like if I really want to impact the trajectory of my generation, my children and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren for I think one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is for them to see us go after what it is we really want.
For our children to observe and our grandchildren to watch us break free from the shackles of should and supposed to, and go after what we feel called to do, that is like I believe the greatest legacy that we could create. And, Casey, the thing that changed my life 10 years ago when I was at that place where I was lost and broken and felt like a failure and had no hope, the thing that woke me up to possibility, I told you, is my wife, an amazing marriage counselor and then something else. It was a family history book that my great grandmother had given me years ago, my teenage years, that I had zero interest in reading as a teenager. I wasn’t reading about family history. Now sitting in my office and I was still in this place of just complete loss and I pulled that book off the shelf and I start reading these stories about my great, great, great grandfather, Christopher Layton who I’m named after, who sacrificed everything to come to this country from England and started three towns and then made some money selling horses to the gold miners and then with a small fortune, bought a ship and took it back to England and paid for the voyage of 250 of his closest family, friends, and relatives.
And then I read the story of Anne Patton Peterson, my great, great, great grandmother who suffered from illness her whole life miserably but yet served and like delivered over 300 babies in Mesa when it was like a pioneer town, was a midwife. And I like read these stories of these like people who lived their legacy. I read stories of people who went after their dreams and made sacrifices and I was like, “You mean that’s who I am? Like, if these are my family and they could create towns and like buy ships and like serve people,” and if they would have left a ton of money like had gotten passed down to my like I would have just been grateful for the money I guess, but I would have had no connection. But that’s not what inspired me. What inspired me was the legacy they lived. It was like reading their stories of how they lived their life. And like if you said, “Hey, Chris, you can either leave your kids $5 million, but you’re going to work a lot, you’re going to be gone a lot, you’re going to just kind of grind away and do it what you should and you’re supposed to,” or, “Chris, your kids can like really watch you go after your dreams and you leave them nothing.”
What do you think will have a greater impact on them? I really firmly believe it would be my kids watching me go after my dreams and like live my life and like get clear on my purpose and my mission. So, I just think there’s an opportunity. And I’m not saying you can’t have both. I don’t want to paint a picture of either/or. You can have an and where you do that and still leave the money and still be really diligent about planning. But I would love to change the global conversation as well as I know other advisors would too around and decide like what legacy really is.
Casey Weade: Well, I guess, the focus is in the wrong place. I wanted to take this to how do we guide our legacy, our financial legacy after we’re gone. And then I think you’ve answered it. Yeah, it’s this living by example, essentially. Let’s just go ahead and start living by example, the way that we want them to treat the finances that we’re going to leave behind by default, whether we want to or not. Let’s just simply live this by example and show up to influence them. But then that lends itself a question because I was talking to a client the other day who said I just realized we didn’t do the best job raising our kids to be where we would want them to be. And at this point, we feel like it’s just too late. You know, they’re in their 30s. They’re in their 40s. And we shouldn’t be telling them what to do. And even if we did, will they even listen to us? Have we lost control? And at this point, we’re thinking that because of this, we might want to leave majority of our life savings, if not all of it, to charity.
Chris Smith: Have you ever read that list, Casey, about the number of millionaires that were like, didn’t make it big until their 40s and 50s? I mean, I think probably if you just google it like some insane names are on that list of people who didn’t really make their impact or even come close to making their impact, like by society’s standards were miserable failures, and yet in their 40s and 50s, and it’s just like that. I know how discouraging that must feel. I don’t know. I can imagine how discouraging that must feel to have that realization of, “Man, we feel like we didn’t do enough for our kids and maybe it’s too late.” Like I didn’t wake up to this possibility until like my late 20s and I have a long way to go but I’ve done a 360-degree turn around in my life and what’s possible what we’ve created, so I just want every family out there it’s like it’s never too late. Like that family you’re talking about, Casey, it’s absolutely I believe not too late for that couple to start being more intentional about living their purpose now and being more intentional about like enrolling their children now.
I mean, like maybe what a powerful thing to do as parents would be to go to those kids and say, “Hey, guys, we just want to acknowledge something with you. We’ve been doing some reflection on planning and money and realize like we think there’s some opportunities that we really missed in raising you and we’re asking for a second chance.” There’s still opportunities to have those kinds of conversations in families that are creation-type conversations like no matter how old your kids are, no matter how old you are.
Casey Weade: I’m wondering how we’re starting that conversation. I know you’ve built Family Brand, which is just an amazing thing. And maybe we need to share a little bit about what Family Brand is, but now we’re applying those Family Brand principles to individuals that are at or near retirement and trying to build their family’s cultures. So, maybe just talk us through what does it look like? You’re beta testing this with a couple of the families that we work with right now. What’s it look like working with someone who doesn’t have a young family? I think of the family brand is something that was really built for someone with a young family like you or I versus someone that’s at or near retirement. Compare and contrast the two.
Chris Smith: Yeah. That’s a great question. When we first launched Family Brand, which really Family Brand is just The Campfire Effect for families, so the same process that I work with entrepreneurs, amazing entrepreneurs like, Casey, we just do it for families with Family Brand. We were shocked, Casey, because when we first launched it, we thought the same thing, “Oh, this will be for young families with young children.” You know, and I say young children all the way up to maybe high school but definitely still in the home and then all of a sudden, we have one of the first people to go through, can’t remember, it was a couple who’s empty nesters with four grown sons who are all out of the house. And they’re like, “Oh, we want to do this.” And we gave them some advice about how to go enroll their four sons in it and they did. Two of them were reluctant and then after the first meeting were totally bought in and they collectively created their family brand.
We had a couple who went through this as no kids yet and they’re engaged. They weren’t even married. We’ve had single individuals go through this, some they want to have a family. So, my point to saying that is like when you think about a lot of people too, Casey, that are nearing retirement age, they’ll say like, “Yeah, we haven’t been super intentional about retirement planning. We probably should have been more intentional earlier on.” But if you’re like in your 50s or 60s, and you’re nearing that and you haven’t been super intentional, I don’t see that most individuals like that are like, “Well, since we haven’t been intentional, we’re just going to like not do anything.” They’re still going to do something, right? But it’s so funny how in our own families will think differently about that. Like, if you came to this realization in your 50s or 60s that you hadn’t been as intentional about your retirement plan as possible, you wouldn’t just then not do anything. You would say, “Well, we should have been more intentional. We weren’t but we’re going to start here.”
Same thing with your family. If you recognize that at this point, it’s like, “Man, I wish we would have been more intentional about creating a culture in our home and what we stand for and family values. But we didn’t, but we still can now.” But what’s so interesting to me, Casey, that I see time and time again, myself included, family is actually the hardest thing to be intentional about in our lives. It’s actually easier to be more intentional about our businesses as entrepreneurs. It’s easier to be more intentional about our retirement planning as near-retirees. It’s just because there are so many other dynamics and emotions and like relationships and yet it’s the most meaningful thing in our lives and it’s the easiest thing to be unintentional about. I don’t think we’re intentionally unintentional. Like, I don’t have this intention to go out and say like I’m going to try and be unintentional with my family. It’s just like, it’s such a big concept to tackle that is just like, “Well, I’m just going to work on the things that I know I can like check off the box.”
And I’m saying myself included like if you gave me the choice between, “Hey, Chris, you’ve got some real dynamics that need to be dealt within your home between some relationships going on, and you can either tackle that or you can go enroll a new client.” I’ll go enroll a new client. That’s way easier, right? And it’s fulfilling and there’s reward and there’s achievement, there’s recognition, and it’s like immediate payoff. This thing over here, I might work on that thing for years and not see any outcome. And so, it is hard and I think it’s just important to recognize that and not have any guilt or shame around it and just be like, “Look, it is hard to be intentional about family,” but it just really is never too late. I’ve been surprised and we’ve had some amazing, amazing families that have gone through this process. They’re empty nesters and their children are grown.
Again, Casey, that idea though like, “Oh, we should have done this sooner,” that’s totally that thing I was talking about. That’s living in the past. That’s the only guilt and shame around what you could have done. Well, you didn’t. So, there’s no usefulness in even like going there. It’s like, “Well, we can create,” like what if we’re just excited about like, “Wow. I’m so grateful that at 65 I came across something that’s going to help me and my family get clear on our family culture and our mission and purpose.”
Casey Weade: And is that the final product? What is the final product if someone exits the Family Brand process? What are they walking away with?
Chris Smith: Yeah. So, there’s really three pillars of the Family Brand, what we believe makes up a Family Brand and it’s culture, language, and experiences. So, in the culture, we help you really define the type of culture that you want to create in your home and your family for now and generations to come. The other thing that we do in the culture, Casey, is you heard me talk about my roots and my ancestors. There’s this growing body of research out there that actually says that one of the greatest indicators of a child’s future well-being is how much they know about their ancestors and their heritage and where they come from. So, we provide some resources for families to start to actually do a little bit of that work and find some really inspiring stories of people in their past. And then in the language, we help them create what the world would refer to as their mission-vision values but it’s this really like here’s what we stand for. Smiths are, Smiths do, Smiths create, a real language around it that you can put on a wall, that you can recite as a family. And so, that’s the language component.
Then the experiences, we just found that most families have what we call a connection blueprint, like things that just have their family work that might be totally different than one has another family work. But to get out on paper like here’s the things that have our family be really connected. And so, those are the things they walk away with, the culture, the language, and this blueprint of how to continually create experiences that just have their family be connected. And here’s the thing, Casey, all of it, though, all of it is a scheme. It’s a good scheme but all of that is a scheme to just accomplish two things in a family. The first is if we can get inside of homes and help every individual in that family love themselves, that’s a huge mission. Because, look, to a degree and none of this matters to me if like kids inside of a home or even parents don’t love who they are. Like, they’ll never recognize what they’re capable of if they don’t love themselves.
And then secondly, the other kind of scheme of this is to flip on what we call the creator switch inside homes and just wake people up to creation like, yeah, you can create anything you want as a family or that that five-year-old kid in there in that home, it’s like you can create it whatever you want, man. Don’t ever let the world should on you like don’t ever let the world tell you what you’re supposed to be like you can create. So, if we can flip on the creator switch and help individuals of that family love themselves, then I feel like we’ve accomplished our purpose. And, yeah, the mission, the vision, the values, that’s amazing.
Casey Weade: Well, and ideally, I would imagine you’d want the kids involved in this and with a young family, I’ve seen you do this, and you’ve had just amazing roundtable discussions with your family and get really involved and just the whole, I mean, everything when it comes to the family, but then as time goes on, you get adult children and then you have grandchildren. And obviously, it’d be ideal if you could involve the grandchildren and the children in the process of identifying that family brand. But that may be difficult if you got enough kids that it’s going to be impossible at some point to get them all on one Zoom call when they have their own families. So, once we have this, once we’ve dialed in our culture or language or experiences, we’ve identified what we want that family brand to be, how do we bring our adult children into the conversation? How do we present it to them and it not feel overbearing?
Chris Smith: Yeah. It’s a great question. And the same principles that we apply when we do it with teams in Campfire Effect is what we’ve applied to Family Brand. Because same thing, Casey, like I take you through Campfire Effect and you’re like, “Wow, this is amazing like I’m feeling this.” It’s like, well, none of that matters to a degree unless your team does too. So, we’ve got to figure out how to have your team really not just buy into this but really feel like they’re part of it. And one of the quotes I love around this is those who help plan the battle don’t battle the plan. And so, like for example, our kids have helped shape our values. And so, for example, one of our values, Casey, is Smiths love and support one another. Well, if my kids are out there having an argument and fighting, which they do, I can spell like, “Hey, guys, look, remember what we came up with? Remember what you helped create? Smith’s love and support one another.” And there’s such a likelihood of them being like, “Gosh, he’s right like that’s not just dad saying that he’s using on us. We helped create that.”
And so, the more you can involve your children in the creation of the language like what is our mission like we believe? What is our vision we are committed to? Which is how we encourage families to start those. And then what is our values? And one of the things, just a little tip, if you want to start working on your values now, you probably noticed on ours, all of our values start with Smiths are, Smiths do. I think that’s so much more powerful than just saying “our values are” and then listing them off, but when you attach your last name to each value, because your last name is part of your identity, it’s part of your brand, right? But if there was a situation where a couple came up with it on their own and then wanted to enroll their children what they’ve created, my biggest piece of advice, Casey, would not be, “Hey, here’s what we created. We want to share it with you like this is final.” It’s like, “Hey, we’ve been going through this process and we’ve come up with some ideas and we totally want to get your guy’s opinion on like do you align with this? Would you change something? Would you help us shape these?”
And the likelihood is they probably won’t change much of it but that’s different than saying, “Hey, here’s what we came up with.” You adopt them versus, “Hey, here’s what we’re working on. We’d love to get your advice and have you help us to really shape it.”
Casey Weade: Yeah. I love that. Smiths are creators. And so, we’ve been using these things ever since you shared this with us. And I think this is one of the great ways to just reinforce what comes out of the family brand and our son’s riding his bike, Weades do hard things. And that one is by far my favorite of all mantras that you have, Weades do hard things or Smiths do hard things. We’ve had an honesty issue with our oldest lately and said Weades are honest with one another, you being honest. Really, it’s so simple but it works so well and that’s just one way that we can reinforce things with our family. I think about this in a corporate environment where you develop all these values, develop a mission statement, a vision statement you throw it on the wall, and then every time you talk about it with the team, you’re supposed to talk about these things at every team meeting. It just feels like a grind and it feels like it kind of goes in one ear and out the other. If you’ve created your values and your culture as a family, how do you reinforce? I know you’ve got some beautiful artwork on the wall there behind you right now. That’s one of the ways you do it, I mean, totally mantras. What are some other ways that we can do this without it being repetitive or boring?
Chris Smith: So, one of the things, Casey, I love, love, love, love that you asked that question because, look, I walked into a company one time here in Arizona that was highly touted for their culture, had been voted Best Places to Work years in a row but yet I knew several people that work there that actually said like, “Hey, that’s not actually the case here.” And I was like, okay, so either I just know a few people that just I happen to know all of them and they’re off base, or this company isn’t what it says it is. And so, I went in there to actually potentially consult with them. They had the most beautiful mural I’d ever seen of their mission-vision values like on the wall, and it was beautiful. So, without anyone like knowing yet, the meeting hadn’t started, people are just milling around. It’s like a highly trafficked business and I just started ask people like, “Hey, what’s your, guys, mission statement?” “I don’t know.” They’d like look up at it. Find another person. “Hey, what’s the mission statement?” “I don’t know.” “What’s one of your values?” “I don’t know.” And I was like they don’t live any of this or they haven’t gotten to the hearts of their people. These are just words on a wall.
Versus I walked into another company a year before that in Salt Lake that became a client had the most inspiring culture I’d ever seen of any company I’ve ever worked with. Like literally, Casey, the people there would have like stepped in front of a car for each other like that much love and support but also high performing culture. They won a bunch of awards in their industry. They didn’t have a mission statement, they didn’t have a vision statement, and they’d never written down a value. And I was almost like, “How can this be? How could you have this amazing culture without any of this language?” Now, they saw that as a missed opportunity, and that’s why they were bringing me in and say, “Hey, we’ve created this amazing company, this amazing culture. We think it could go to the next level if we develop this.” But then I just start asking like how this be such an amazing culture? And what I heard over and over and over again, from every employee is, “Yeah, we just feel like we can be who we are here. There’s no judgment. We’re accepted for who we are. We’re celebrated for our uniqueness and our differences.”
And this light bulb went off and I was like, “Wow. What if you could create that in homes?” What if you could have the language, but then you also demonstrate the values that you actually live them. And not perfectly, but it’s like we don’t just say up there we love and support one another and then every day I’m getting after my kids and criticizing them. It’s like, it doesn’t match up. And so, like one of the best ways to reinforce it, Casey, is to model it and it’s also the most confronting. Because whenever we put these things up on the walls, I actually believe this, Casey, that if you’re in an organization or a family and you put your values up on the wall and never talk about them and never live them, they do more harm than good because they’re a daily reminder up there of the things we actually don’t live and don’t talk about. But if you model them and you demonstrate them as best you can, and to your point, you incorporate them into your daily conversations, which is one of the things in the experiences pillar, we actually give family some ideas on how to incorporate this daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually.
But I can tell you this too, it’s so much more powerful like, for example, if your son is being dishonest, rather than like getting after him and criticizing him and making him feel like bad for who he is, it’s so much more powerful to just be like, “Hey, buddy, dude, remember what we said like Weades are honest.” It’s just like such a more powerful place to come from. And it’s not like you’re saying he’s wrong. It’s more reminding him of like, “Hey, here’s who we are and here’s who you are.” And so, I think, yeah, just reinforcing it is the daily living of it and really looking and asking ourselves like, “Man, am I being a model and a demonstration of this to my kids?” Like when I say Smiths do hard things, am I doing hard things? When I say Smiths are creators, am I creating?
Casey Weade: That’s so helpful for me. When I started doing that, I realized he didn’t understand there’s something wrong with lying, right? He thought, “Well, what do you mean we don’t lie to each other? Why?” And I realized I go, “Well, he asked me if we had ice cream that other night,” and I said, “No, we don’t.” And we did. I wasn’t being honest with him. And of course, it’s not like they’re horrible lies. You’re trying to do it for the right reasons, but he doesn’t understand that. And so, I think a lot of these things as you’re going through this process, you’re not just teaching your children. You’re teaching yourself and there’s a lot of self-awareness that comes out of this and a lot of it comes out of digging into your past, digging into your history, digging into your own personal story. We spent hours just you and I one-on-one talking about my personal story and it was amazing how helpful that was. And there were some things that you shared with me about the power in sharing your story and why so many of us won’t share our story and the impact of not sharing that story. What does storytelling mean to you? Not within an organization but more within a family and especially for a grandparent or someone that’s in retirement trying to create this culture.
Chris Smith: Yeah. It’s like there’s so much research out there and I hinted on this earlier, but there’s so much research out there that proves that like family narrative and family stories have so much to do with a child’s sense of like self and identity and well-being and like ability to deal with hard things. Because when children are told stories about their family and what their family’s gone through and who their families are, it gives the kids a sense of like, “Well, I’m part of that.” I don’t understand at all but all of that greatness and that overcoming and those struggles and those challenges like I’m somehow part of it. And you don’t even have to tell them, Casey, they’re part of it. They just intuitively sense it. It just rings true with them. And so, this idea of story, the reason why I want people, individuals, families, and especially entrepreneurs in my work with Campfire to really understand their stories isn’t so first and foremost they go tell more of it. It’s so first and foremost, they make sense of their own life and their own experiences.
It’s like, “Wow, like if I really go back and reflect on my story and how my life led me here, it’s actually pretty amazing.” That’s a cool thing to realize about yourself, right? It’s like, “Man, I’ve actually accomplished some pretty amazing things.” And of course, I’ve made mistakes, but like, I’ve actually had some really cool experiences and I’ve met some really amazing people who have inspired me along the way and I’ve overcome difficult things. So, like the first thing, the reason why I want so many people to know their story and study it, isn’t even go tell it at first. That’s like a secondary benefit. It’s for you to see your own like truth in it, for you to see your own calling in it and how your life led you here and like have this awareness of like, because I think one of the things that we really are hesitant to do as human beings is we’re really hesitant to acknowledge how much we matter. That’s weird to say. It’s like, yeah, you don’t talk about yourself. You don’t talk about how great you are. You don’t talk about how much you matter. It’s like no, no, that’s a lie.
Like, the more people realize they matter and the more people realize how amazing they are, the more they’re free to be themselves and make a difference for other people. And so, that’s why I want families to be telling stories and individuals to discover theirs is because, one, it just allows you to see that you really are on purpose and your life really has led you somewhere. And then when you share those stories, the power of like the possibility it creates when a family like when it’s your grandchild, here’s a grandfather tell their story or grandmother, or here’s the great grandfather tell a story about their great grandfather that they’d never met. I know this, when we tell our kids stories about their ancestors, they will sit there for hours without a device, without any distractions and just like can’t get enough of it. And I think it just touches something in them like that’s me like I’m part of that. Like that guy that came over here on the boat from England and sacrificed everything, they somehow make the connection without us even having to make it for them like, “I’m part of that.”
Casey Weade: It’s awesome. Yeah. I think there’s been so much power, mainly in not learning my story to tell the people and learning my story to be able to understand myself better and my value in the world. That’s been just monumental. I know we’ve only got about a minute left here, Chris, and I want to make sure we get to this final question. I think we were just the perfect fit, in my opinion. I don’t know how you think but, in my opinion, we were just a perfect fit to start working together when we hired you because our tagline was already Retire With Purpose and you love having this discussion around purpose and meaning. It’s part of kind of the Campfire brand, your own brand that you’ve created has a lot to do with purpose. What does retire with purpose mean to you?
Chris Smith: I love that question and, yeah, it was an absolute honor to work with you guys. And that’s the cool thing is I get to work with entrepreneurs who are already on purpose. We’re just helping go a little bit deeper in it. And so, this idea of retire with purpose doesn’t mean retire and then I’ll get purpose. It doesn’t mean retire and then I’ll find my purpose or retire and then I’ll start living my purpose. No. Retire with it means you’ve already had some sense of it. And so, it’s this continuation. And I love that that’s what you guys stand for and I love, Casey, you guys have the courage to actually have those kinds of conversations, where most advisors are having conversations around like the best investment for you or the best life insurance product or the best annuity and they’re like the focus is the product where you guys focus is like, “No, let’s get clear on your purpose and then we’ll find the right products that align with that.” And so, to me, this idea of retiring with purpose, it denotes that something that you already have at something you’re already clear on and something you’re already working towards.
And so, it’s actually retirement, I would love it if people’s retirement was just a continuation of the life and the purpose they were already living. They just maybe got to do in a different way now and in a bigger way because you know that they have more time. But that their life wasn’t like, “Oh man, I’ve spent 40 years just grinding away with my head down. Now I look up and it’s actually kind of scary. I don’t know.” Where people are like, “No, it’s just a continuation into my purpose and into my life that I’ve already been living.”
Casey Weade: I love that. I mean, every single time I feel like we talk, I get just a greater degree of clarity around so many different areas of life. And as you know, I can sit around and talk to you for hours, probably days on end because there’s always so much value that comes out of it. I know we’re out of time but we’ve got some really cool projects in the works. So, I know this is not even close to our final conversation here. Chris, I just want to thank you so much for sharing all this wisdom with our audience.
Chris Smith: My pleasure. And I’ll just tell you this, if you’re listening to this like I was a financial advisor. I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of financial advisors now as a coach and consultant, and you won’t find a better, more committed person and firm than Casey and Howard Bailey like I truly mean that like people that have the courage to go out and talk about something like purpose and hold their clients accountable to it. So, it’s an honor for me to be on here.
Casey Weade: Well, Chris, thank you so much for those kind words. If you’re listening and you want to engage in Family Brand, we’ll go ahead and put the link in the show notes to connect with Family Brand. If you’re maybe in the corporate or entrepreneurial world, we’ll have a link in the show notes to The Campfire Effect as well. If you would like to engage with Chris, he’s got all kinds of different programs. I think there’s probably a good dozen different programs that individuals could engage with you at some level so we’ll make sure to put that in the show notes. Again, thank you so much, Chris.
Chris Smith: Yeah. Thanks for having me on. It was a pleasure.